Residential cardboard shredder installed at London development

Automated waste technology company Envac has announced it has launched a residential cardboard shredder the Barking Riverside development site in London.

Dave Buckley, managing director at Envac UK (centre) is joined my Matthew Carpen, managing director at Barking Riverside (centre right, in high vis), Paul Miller, deputy managing director – business strategy and finance at Barking Riverside (left), Chris Harrison, headteacher at George Carey School Primary School (far right) and pupils from the school

The Barking Riverside development is a growing housing estate that will offer over 10,000 homes and new facilities on a 443 acres brownfield site on the River Thames in East London.

An Envac cardboard shredder has been installed at the site and connected to Barking Riverside’s existing automated waste management system.

The 88cm-wide shredder will enable residents to put large amounts of cardboard, such as TV packaging, out for disposal, Envac said.

This would then be ‘sucked underground’ via an underground pipe network to a ‘collection station’ every day.

Envac said the Barking shredder is largest ever to be used in a residential environment. It is also the first time that residential cardboard collection has been handled by vacuum waste collection in the UK.


Barking Riverside’s cardboard waste recycling system is accessed via radio frequency identification  tags made available to residents.

When residents have cardboard waste to recycle, they take it to the inlet and feed it through the shredder. When the inlet becomes full, or at pre-programmed times, high-powered fans located in the collection station create negative airflow that ‘sucks’ the waste through the pipes.

Sarah Phillips, head of estates at Barking Riverside, said: “The launch of our communal cardboard shredder is a huge step forward for recycling levels at Barking Riverside.

“Not only will it reduce the environmental footprint of our residents but, by being the first development in the UK to address cardboard waste using this technology at scale, we further reflect our progressive approach towards delivering sustainable and affordable homes in London.

“This is particularly important in new-build communities such as Barking Riverside, where we have hundreds of residents moving in each year, buying furniture and other household items that inevitably generate cardboard waste.”


According to the company the move will allow residents from approximately 2,000 homes to manage large volumes of cardboard waste, “preventing around 105 tonnes of cardboard from being sent to landfill annually”.

Envac have highlighted that the shredder can shred an unlimited amount of cardboard and the capacity to transport four cubic metres of the material from the shredder to the collection station in only 26 seconds.

Dave Buckley, Envac UK’s managing director, said: “The team at Barking Riverside Limited demonstrated its commitment to tackling traditional challenges using innovative methods when it installed an Envac system designed to accommodate almost 10,000 homes back in 2018. The installation of the cardboard shredder marks the next step in the development’s evolution, underlines the company’s commitment to sustainable waste collection and cements its position as one of the most progressive place makers in the UK.”


The shredder has been connected to the development existing automated waste collection system (see letsrecycle.com story) which was introduced in 2018.

Envac said its system has reduced on-street bins by 98% and slashed carbon emissions associated with waste collection by 90% by eliminating the requirement for on-site waste collection trucks. Operating through an underground pipe network propelled by airflow, the system currently handles the waste from approximately 2,000 homes.

Statistics for April 2023 for Barking Riverside show 47% of all waste was recycled—compared to the London average of 12 percent for flatted properties, the company claimed.

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